Joint United Nations and Côte d'Ivoire forces today started patrolling the West African country's major city, Abidjan, to provide security of person and property, the UN mission said today.
The patrols of about 100 persons each initially aim to cover five districts - Yopougon, Adjamé, Abobo, Cocody and south Abidjan - night and day, the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) said.
Patrols would eventually be organized in other towns, restoring public confidence in the world's top cocoa-growing country.
In a report submitted last week, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the Security Council to boost the capacity of the authorized 6,240-member UNOCI by 850 troops, along with more police and helicopters. He said riots early last month in Abidjan had pushed the mission to its limits.
The November uprising responded to the destruction of the small Ivorian air force by French troops after the national military forces violated their ceasefire agreement by raiding dissident northern forces and killing nine French soldiers. The UN-authorized French Licorne peacekeeping force runs parallel to UNOCI.